Tomáš Třeštík

A side profile portrait of movie and theatre actor Jiří Langmajer, taken on a Canon EOS R5 by Tomáš Třeštík.

Czech movie and theatre actor Jiří Langmajer, photographed by portrait photographer and Canon Ambassador Tomáš Třeštík for a Reportér magazine cover story. Jiří and Tomáš have known each other for some time and have collaborated before, so the shoot was quick and efficient. In a dark, empty theatre, Tomáš used two flashes on low power, and slightly boosted the ISO. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM lens at 58mm, 1/160 sec, f/6.3 and ISO 800. © Tomáš Třeštík

More than anything, Tomáš Třeštík is a guy who loves taking pictures. He's many other things too – an accomplished portrait, editorial and commercial photographer, and a lifelong citizen of Prague in the Czech Republic. But whether you speak to him in person or follow his frequent social posts, it's obvious that he simply adores shooting photographs.

"I'm not the guy who thought he would be a photographer from childhood, but I was definitely influenced by my mother," he says, referring to Helena Třeštíková, one of his country's most celebrated documentary film directors, known for following her subjects over exceptionally long periods of time – years or even decades. "From a young age, I was involved in this filmmaking world. Usually when my mother was filming there was a photographer with her. So, I knew the job – what it means to take a picture."

After high school, Tomáš was accepted into FAMU, a prestigious filmmaking and photography school in Prague. However, the photography department was very artistically focused, and for Tomáš, this wasn't the right fit. "From the beginning, I was down to earth about what I wanted," he says. "My plan wasn't to be an artist; I just wanted to take pictures for a living."

A black and white portrait of Canon Ambassador Tomáš Třeštík, seated behind a Canon camera and lenses.
Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Specialist areas: Advertising, portraiture

Favourite kit: Canon EOS R5
Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM
Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM
A portrait of Czech rapper Viktor Sheen, leaning over the edge of a red stairwell with the sky visible above him, taken on a Canon EOS R5 by Tomáš Třeštík.

"Czech rapper Viktor Sheen, shot at a newly renovated spot not far from my Letná studio," says Tomáš. "Despite the sunny day, I used a strobe and a wide-angle lens to make the scene more visually pleasing." Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM lens at 21mm, 1/250 sec, f/11 and ISO 160. © Tomáš Třeštík

A portrait of Czech rapper Viktor Sheen, leaning over the edge of a red stairwell with the sky visible above him, taken on a Canon EOS R5 by Tomáš Třeštík.

Czech actor and singer Vojtěch Dyk. Vojtěch was the first person Tomáš photographed for his balcony portrait project, around 14 years ago, after spotting him by chance on the street. This image was taken when the pair spotted this glass pyramid on their way back from a shooting location. Taken on a Canon EOS 5DS (now succeeded by the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV) with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM lens at 24mm, 1/100 sec, f/6.3 and ISO 100. © Tomáš Třeštík

As such, many of the friends Tomáš made were studying film rather than photography, and he started to pick up work as a photographer on film sets. With many productions filming in Prague at the time, there were also plenty of opportunities to shoot commercial images. This high-pressure, high-reward work quickly became Tomáš' priority.

"It was a baptism of fire," he says. "But I liked it, and I still do. I was supposed to study at FAMU for four or five years, but it took me eleven. I think I still hold the record. And I only finished because I made a bet with my father [writer and art collector Michael Třeštík] that if I finished, he'd buy me a wrist watch."

 A portrait of Czech artist Martin Janecký against a plain green background, shards of glass falling from his raised hand. Taken on a Canon EOS 5DS by Tomáš Třeštík.

A portrait of Czech artist Martin Janecký, who works with glass. "This was supposed to be a cover picture," recalls Tomáš. "I added a plain colour background in post-production, possibly for the first time. In the end, the editor used another variant. But I like this one more." Taken on a Canon EOS 5DS with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 28mm, 1/160 sec, f/5.6 and ISO 100. © Tomáš Třeštík

A portrait of actor, clown and acrobat Boris Kriachek against a lime green background. Taken on a Canon EOS 5DS by Tomáš Třeštík.

A portrait of actor, clown and acrobat Boris Kriachek from circus show Cesty (The Ways), made by Czech company Cirk La Putyka. "I shot the whole ensemble, not only the actors, but all the people who'd participated," says Tomáš. "I've loved working for many years with these talented guys and girls." Taken on a Canon EOS 5DS with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 41mm, 1/125 sec, f/9 and ISO 100. © Tomáš Třeštík

As well as his commercial work, Tomáš specialises in portraiture. Some of his best-known images are his balcony portraits – images of people from all walks of life, shot on the same balcony in Prague. As Tomáš tells it, the whole thing came about by chance. He'd been working with his father on a project converting a flat into a studio space, and while checking out the renovations, he spotted a friend on the street below.

"I shouted at him to come and see my new place," says Tomáš. "He's a famous Czech singer – I'd shot him and his band about 14 days before. He went up, and the only place where it was quiet and there was no dust was the balcony. We were talking there, he was smoking, and I just took a picture of him with the camera that was in my pocket."

A few days later, Tomáš' girlfriend came by, and he photographed her in the same place. He then captured another subject, and noticed how the three images were starting to look like a series. From there, it has grown and grown, and Tomáš says he now has around 5,000 pictures of people on the balcony, with subjects ranging from famous rappers to his local dustbin collector.

"Like I said, I'm influenced by my mother, who works with people for many, many years," he explains. "And with my father being an art collector – I think that the balcony project combines these two approaches. Keeping focus on something for a long, long period of time, and collecting. Because it's sort of a collection of people."

You do a lot of commercial photography, but your speciality is capturing people rather than products. Why is that your focus?

"Because I like people. I was always shy – I think I still am – but photography helped my self-confidence. Meeting new people makes me feel gifted, and photography brings me many opportunities to talk with people I would never otherwise meet."

You're an enthusiastic Instagrammer. What do you like about sharing images on social media?

"As a child, I was used to being seen. My mother was well-known, and because my father was an architect, our flat was featured in a lot of magazines, so the idea of sharing your personal life wasn't so strange for me. I enjoy my life. I enjoy the things I do, and the stuff I collect, and the girls I'm in love with, and I enjoy my kids. I love to share it, the same way I love to see other people's lives. It's a part of me as a photographer – I don't want to be the grey man behind the camera, the hidden, invisible one. For me, that doesn't work."

Do you shoot video as well as take photographs?

"I don't. I want to, and I think I know how. But I respect videography as an art form, and I know what it took for me to become a photographer. It's like someone who's good at skiing and someone who's good at snowboarding – you don't want to assume you can do both. I know that I'm a much better photographer than a videographer. It's similar, but different, and it attracts me. But I respect the boundaries."

Do you have any career ambitions for the future?

"Just to keep doing what I do, without any burnout. I've been doing this for almost 20 years, and I enjoy it every single day. I am not a 'challenge' type of guy; I am happy as I am."

One thing I know

Tomáš Třeštik

"For almost 10 years I've taught photography, and I give my students one main piece of advice: keep shooting. I see many people talking about how they want to become a photographer. Shoot – do it – then talk about it. Worry about mistakes after. Don't get scared you'll screw it up; you probably will. But the second time, you won't. I tell students to shoot their personal lives. To do a story about their girlfriends, boyfriends, dogs, parents, grandparents – it's up to them, but I think the more personal they get, the more valuable the pictures will become."

Instagram: @tomastrestik

Tomáš Třeštík's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs


Canon EOS R5

A long-time Canon user, Tomáš has made the jump from EF DSLRs to the RF mirrorless system. His principal camera body is the Canon EOS R5, the full-frame professional model in the EOS R System. Tomáš loves the camera for its high resolution – with 45.7MP at his disposal, he can get all the detail he needs for spectacular, unforgettable imagery.


Canon RF 10-20mm F4L IS STM

Canon's wide-angle AF zoom lens has captured Tomáš' imagination. With a huge 130-degree maximum angle of view, the Canon RF 10-20mm F4L IS STM allows photographers to cram even more into the frame. "I got the 10-20mm a while back, and it's like a dream come true," Tomáš says.

Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM

Tomáš uses the classic trinity of pro lenses – including the 24-70mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8, however, as a devotee of wide angles, his favourite is the RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM. With three aspherical elements and two UD elements, this lens delivers the kind of stunning sharpness Tomáš needs.

Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM

The ultimate standard prime for pros, this lens delivers supreme image quality with sharpness right to the edges of the frame, as well as razor-thin depth of field. "I love the 50mm f/1.2," says Tomáš. "I'm a wide-angle guy, so a 50mm is almost like an 85mm for me. I use it a lot."

Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM

Another recent acquisition for Tomáš has been a portable telephoto zoom. "I never did sports or bird photography, so I'd never got into long-distance, long-focal-length shooting," he says. "But I got the 100-500mm, and it's amazing."


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